Team USA loses to France in FIBA World Cup quarterfinals

Carrie Guzman
September 11, 2019

No medal. No more winning streak.

Before the game, U.S. big man Myles Turner thought it was a good idea to question Gobert's status as the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Mitchell wasn't the only Jazz player that turned heads at the World Cup as Rudy Gobert was a major reason that the U.S.is headed home.

"Any loss hurts and in this situation, it hurts more, but life goes on", said United States coach Gregg Popovich. "And in this situation, it hurts more".

"For the first time since 2002, US will not be on the podium; for the first time since 2006, they lost a game in the World Cup; and for the third time in the history of this competition, they will not win the event in Asia (5th in Philippines in 1978, 3rd in Japan in 2006)". The Americans rebounded to win gold at the Beijing Olympics two years later and also won the two Olympic tournaments that followed.

The Americans can now finish as high as fifth through the consolation portion of the bracket, which would be the worst standing in global competition since a 2002 iteration of Team USA finished sixth while playing in home turf in Indiana.

The top-ranked team in the world trailed by six points at the half, but managed a surging third quarter thanks to Mitchell, who scored 14 of his 29 points in the period.

Coach of the U.S. Gregg Popovich looks dejected. Kim Kyung-Hoon Reuters
Coach of the U.S. Gregg Popovich looks dejected. Kim Kyung-Hoon Reuters

But Mitchell stayed scoreless in the fourth quarter while his Utah Jazz team mate Gobert and Orlando Magic guard Fournier hit top gear. He finished with two points and a rebound in just over 10 minutes. Donovan Mitchell looked really good against France as he was able to score in a plethora of ways, and he appears poised to take a major step forward this season. The final spot in the semifinals was filled by Australia, which rode a huge third quarter to an 82-70 victory over the upstart Czech Republic.

"We came here to win gold", said Gobert.

Les Bleus didn't make it easy on Team USA from the get-go. The Americans were abused in the pick and roll by French ball-handlers Fournier and Nando De Colo (18 points), along with Gobert, and their ill-preparedness for that scenario - both by roster-building and execution - cost them a medal. "It doesn't mean anything if you don't win in the end", he said.

"We beat the USA, and that's huge, but we haven't won anything yet", France's Nicolas Batum said.

France had been 0-9 against the U.S.in major global play, most of those outcomes one-sided affairs.

None of the US players who played that afternoon in Rio is on this year's World Cup team. The thrilling game featured 12 lead changes. However, a surge by France snapped that lead.

He had 14 points in the third quarter, and his dunk with 2:40 left pulled the USA into a 60-60 tie. As the Americans struggled to create inside, they had to kick the ball out for threes.

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